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Urine test spots chlamydia in male teens

Urine ProblemsSep 30, 05

Sexually active male adolescents quite often have the sexually transmitted infection Chlamydia trachomatis but don’t know it. Investigators in California have found that routine urine screening for chlamydia is an effective means of diagnosing these infections in sexually active young men.

In men, chlamydia can lead to inflammation of the urethra and structures of the testes. Men can pass the infection to their female sex partners whose fertility could become compromised, Dr. Kathleen P. Tebb of the University of California, San Francisco and associates note in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

They therefore determined the effectiveness of screening sexually active 14- to 18-year-old males scheduled for routine health maintenance visits at ten clinics of a large HMO between 2001 and 2002. Five of the clinics were assigned to test urine specimens for chlamydia.

There were 1088 teens who visited the five intervention clinics and 1134 who visited the five “control” clinics, which did not routinely screen for chlamydia.

The proportion of subjects screened in the intervention clinics rose from 2.6 percent at the start of the study to 48.5 percent after about 18 months. In the control clinics, corresponding screening rates rose from 7.0 percent to 9.1 percent.

The researchers report that, overall, 3.8 percent of the teens who were screened were found to be infected with chlamydia.

The screening program, they conclude, “was effective in identifying a treatable condition with a moderate level of prevalence and morbidity via an accurate, acceptable, and feasible screening mechanism in a busy community clinic setting.”

SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health, October 2005.

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